On fears, fantasies and critical thinking

In which I discuss monsters, both real and imagined:

As Halloween approaches, many are consumed with the desire to scare each other with elaborate costumes and behavior. Ghosts and witches, who previously ruled this holiday, have been replaced by more horrific entities: The ubiquitous walking dead and chainsaw-wielding psychopaths. It’s all in fun of course, but it’s also extremely ironic. Because many of us live in genuine fear of imaginary monsters for the other 364 days of the year, and it negatively alters our understanding of the world around us.

Campaign season is a time when reality suffers and the truth becomes a vague concept, but it's really the most important time for such things. Here are a few more excerpts from my appeal for thoughtful evaluation:

Something else has happened during that short period of time: Over 30,000 women and girls were sexually assaulted, most of them by somebody they knew, yet only a small percentage of those familiar monsters will have to answer for their crimes. I find that considerably more frightening than any brain-eating shuffling zombie, and you should, too. Thousands of sociopaths are walking the streets of our cities and towns, and we go to great lengths to convince ourselves they’re not really there, they are simply the product of someone else’s imagination. Shameful and irresponsible are a few words that come to mind, but I bet you could come up with some others if you thought about it. Please do.

Moving on to some other unfounded fears we seem to be susceptible to, let’s take a look at the aura of alleged voter fraud. Some sources would have us believe there is a conspiracy to subvert our elections, a movement to “take over” our government by individuals casting fraudulent ballots. If you would put on your critical thinking cap for just one minute, you’d realize that particular fear defies logic.

Plainly put, there isn’t a conspiracy to sway our elections using unqualified voters. But there is a conspiracy to reduce the number of qualified voters that show up at the polls. Voter ID was only part of the law that was passed recently. There were 27 other “reforms” that were instituted along with the photo ID requirement, and many of them were designed to place roadblocks in the way of potential voters.

Banking on your fears of a non-existent voter fraud problem, lawmakers have enacted rules that adversely impact those voters who are already dealing with adversity on a daily basis. This might suit those of you who would prefer to live in a society that is governed by the wealthy, or the economically successful, or the people who are intelligent enough to grasp opportunity and avoid bad decisions, or however you want to phrase it. But that is not democracy. It isn’t even a reasonable facsimile. True democracy places no roadblocks in front of voters, it welcomes them with open arms. True democracy doesn’t require you to pass a test or dig in your pocket for a few shillings, it throws the door open for one and all.

And out of that noisy hubbub of voices, greatness emerges.

I quoted more than I usually do or allow, but I know the author. He can be a jackass sometimes, but he really does care. ;)